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Basaa language

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Title: Basaa language  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Bantu languages, Demographics of Cameroon, Index of language articles, Kamerun, African Jews, Basa, Index of Cameroon-related articles, Cheikh Anta Diop, Ethnic groups in Africa, Fe'fe' language
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Basaa language

Native to Cameroon
Region Centre and Littoral Provinces
Native speakers
unknown (230,000 cited 1982)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-2 bas
ISO 639-3 bas
Glottolog basa1284[3]

Basaa (also spelled Bassa, Basa, Bissa), or Mbene, is a Bantu language spoken in Cameroon. It is spoken by about 230,000 people in Centre and Littoral provinces.

Maho (2009) lists North and South Kogo as dialects.



Front Back
Close i, iː u, uː
Close-mid e, eː o, oː
Open-mid ɛ, ɛː ɔ, ɔː
Open a, aː


Bilabial Coronal Palatal Velar Labial-velar
Stop p t c, ɟ k kʷ, ɡʷ
Implosive ɓ
Fricative s x
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ ŋʷ
Prenasalized stop ᵐb ⁿd ᶮɟ ᵑɡ
Lateral l
Approximant j w
  • When not root-initial and not after a pause, the voiceless stops /p t k/ are realized as voiced stops or voiced fricatives.


Basaa contrasts four tones: high, low, high-to-low (falling) and low-to-high (rising).


  1. ^ Basaa at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  2. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  3. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Basa (Cameroon)". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  • Hyman, Larry M. (2003). "Basaá (A.43)". In Nurse, Derek and Philippson, Gérard (ed.). The Bantu Languages. Routledge. pp. 257–282. ISBN . 
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